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Bibliography: p. -236
Charismatic leaders are believed by their followers to have superhuman powers. The faithful are willing to sacrifice everything, including themselves, for the sake of this leader. How can we understand this seemingly irrational phenomenon? Using a number of perspectives that take into account group dynamics, individual character, and the social milieu, this book argues that charismatic involvement is a deeply embedded potential for all human beings. The theory is tested through specific cases: Hitler's Germany; Manson's Family; Jonestown; and the experience of Shamanism in non-Western societies. The book concludes with a discussion of alternatives to charisma in modern society, focusing especially on romantic love, and considers the form future charismatic movements may take.
- Part 1 Introduction. Part 2 Theory: "men as they really are": social theories of the passions
- Max Weber, Emile Durkheim and the sociology of the irrational
- hypnotism and crowd psychology - Mesmer, Le Bon, Tarde
- Oedipus and Narcissus - Freud's crowd psychology
- charisma as mental illness or as re-socialization
- synthetic theories. Part 3 Practice: the "possessed servant" - Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party
- "love is my judge" - Charles Manson and the Family
- "the only God you'll ever see" - Jim Jones and the people's temple
- "technicians of the sacred" - Shamans and society. Part 4 Conclusion: charisma today.
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